ICYMI: New Studio Buds Are The Best Beats For Most People

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This week we have a wide array of reviews covering everything from gaming laptops to unique synths. First off, let’s talk about the headphones – Billy Steele spent time with Beats’ new Studio Buds and found them to be comfortable, Android compatible, and reasonably priced. Then Devindra Hardawar put the ASUS ROG Strix G15 advantage to the test, ray tracing and all, to see how a machine with both an AMD processor and graphics stacks up against the competition. Nathan Ingraham used Acer’s Chromebook Spin 713 to see if the 360-degree, 3: 2 display could convince him, and Terrence O’Brien had fun exploring the one-of-a-kind Make Noise Strega synth and spent a few hands-per hour with the long-awaited Elektron electric handle.

Billy Steele / Engadget

Although the new Beats Studio Buds have a new design, active noise cancellation (ANC), extended Android support and solid sound quality. But Billy Steele says one of the most important features is the affordability of $ 150. The new design looks more like a traditional earbud shape in an IPX4 water resistant housing. Although it is more comfortable to wear, the smooth coating makes them a bit difficult to manage. Android users now have access to Fast Pair for the first time, as well as Find My Device and other features native to iOS.

Billy liked the sound quality of the Studio Buds, finding them to match the rest of the company’s headphones: well tuned with punchy bass, deep, upbeat bass lines, and depth and presence in the instruments. acoustic. And noise cancellation blocked out sounds from a dishwasher, dryer, and white noise machine during testing. However, there are downsides to Studio Buds, namely call quality, which Billy found a bit lackluster. Lots of background noise bled into the call, and he also didn’t like the lack of built-in volume controls and sound customization. There is also no wireless charging. But Billy says that considering the features and the price, you won’t be sacrificing too much with this set of true wireless headphones.

Make some noise Strega

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Terrence O’Brien calls the Making noise Strega synth a “strange beast”. Indeed, the unusual instrument features a creative array of golden squares and circles with unique titles such as “activation” and “tonic”. Between that and a manual that claims it’s not important to understand the device, some people may be put off in their attempts to experiment with it. However, Terrence says some skeptics would do well to stick with the “little steel box of weirdness” because it’s an incredible drone machine, lo-fi delay, and capable overdrive.

The Strega gets its character from the combination of a multimode filter and lo-fi delay, and gets its heart from a single oscillator that transforms when you turn the “Tones” knob. Terrence says one of his favorite features is audio input, so it can be used as an effect as well as an instrument. Oh, and the gold shapes on the front aren’t just decorative – they’re contact plates that will give you a tactile way to manipulate your sounds. The whole machine is designed to explore without focusing on technical details. While the price tag of $ 599 is a bit steep for a synth without MIDI, keyboard, or sequencer, Terrence says without hesitation that he’s having a blast and continues to find new ways to play it.

The ASUS ROG Strix G15 Advantage Laptop is a fully AMD gaming platform

ASOS ROG Strix G15 Advantage

Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

Devindra Hardawar was not initially impressed with the ASUS ROG Strix G15 Advantage: The bling-out gaming machine has a flashy but uninspired design with prominent LEDs and a plastic casing. But the combination of AMD’s Radeon 6800M with a Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and an entry price of $ 1,550 was pretty convincing. In benchmarks, the Strix G15 scored higher than the Zephyrus G15 and hit between 85fps and 105fps without ray tracing. While i was playing Monitor, Devindra was able to achieve between 175 fps and 200 fps with 1080p graphics at maximum and said AMD FreeSync technology maintains smooth frame rates.

However, when it passed ray tracing to medium, the laptop crawled around 45 fps. Additionally, the Strix G15’s fast 300Hz display is not very bright and did not perform well in outdoor environments where colors appeared washed out – it is much more suited to low-light gaming in a room. dark room. It’s also heavier than most competing 15-inch five-pound laptops. Devindra says it’s not the computer he would use to watch movies or create media – it’s clearly a gaming rig and should be used as such. That would be overkill for general productivity work, but any gamer looking for a surprisingly affordable and powerful gaming laptop would be well served.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Nathan Ingraham / Engadget

Our Chromebook fan, Nathan Ingraham, has a strong penchant for a 3: 2 display, so he was eager to review the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. With a functional design, the Spin 713 features a sturdy and smooth 360-degree hinge, measures two-thirds of an inch thick, and weighs just over 3 pounds. That’s big compared to other Chromebooks, but it gives you plenty of ports (two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, an HDMI, a headphone jack, a USB-A, and a microSD card slot) and a remarkable 13-inch touchscreen. , 5 inches. But Nathan says the screen is his favorite laptop feature by far. The 2,256 x 1,504 resolution display is bright and crisp, and the increased vertical space on the screen has made many of its daily tasks easier.

While Nathan said the keyboard and trackpad were similar to other Acer Chromebooks, he also quickly pointed out that the Spin 713’s setup was not as premium or solid as the other models. That didn’t stop it from typing quickly and accurately or getting smooth, responsive trackpad performance. However, the 360 ​​Hinge has a tradeoff: the placement of the speakers, which are found at the bottom of the laptop in order to make them more accessible in tablet mode. Plus, he was disappointed with the sound quality, and the battery life wasn’t that remarkable either – it lasted around eight hours on a single charge, two hours less than the estimate of. Asus.

Elektron electric handle

Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

As a fan of Elektron’s Model line of grooveboxes, Terrence O’Brien was eagerly awaiting the Elektron electric handle for almost two and a half years. Released in May, the Power Handle is a tube that holds AA batteries and connects to the sides of the instrument to act both as a mobile power source and, well, as a handle. It can also fold under the device to act as a stand, but Terrence said leaving it at a low angle and attempts to adjust it made the surface less stable. The company says the power grip should last between five and seven hours, depending on factors like the brightness of the LCD screen. In Terrence’s tests he was able to consistently get four to five hours with the LCD screen at a minimum.

He also points out that the power handle requires an inelegant cord, which comes out from one end of the handle and connects to the machine’s five-volt power outlet. On the plus side, a firmware update allows model grooveboxes to display a small battery level indicator when connected to the power grip. Instruments can also register that they are running on battery power and will add a start step to prevent the device from accidentally turning on. Although the Power Handle was a better solution than what Terrence was using, he still wondered what had taken so long and why there wasn’t a more cost effective option available earlier.

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